Lot 3
  • 3

Carlos Cruz-Diez (b. 1923)

150,000 - 200,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Carlos Cruz-Diez
  • Physichromie No 202
  • signed and dated Paris Dec. 1965 on the reverse
  • painted plastic on wood
  • 23 2/3 by 6 1/3 in.
  • 60 by 16 cm


Private Collection, Germany
Acquired from the above
Sale: Sotheby's, London, Contemporary Art, February 11, 2010, lot 101, illustrated in color
Private Collection, New York

Catalogue Note

“The principle of experimentation has always guided my work. All my works are based on experiments in physics but these experiments are valuable to me only in so far as they help to create a visual event.” Carlos Cruz-Diez, SIGNALS, August-September, 1965

Carlos Cruz-Diez is one of the most prolific and innovative artists associated to the Kinetic movement, devoting the entirety of his career to exploring the physical possibilities of color. The premise of Cruz-Diez’s proposal is his belief in, and treatment of color as, an organism capable of endless mutations and metamorphosis. His fervent curiosity and dedication to his grand experiment of color was “something that few artists had attempted before: to liberate color from the two-dimensional plane and to engage it is an ever-changing […] physical situation.” [1]

In 1959, Carlos Cruz-Diez created Physichromie No. 1, his first relief-like construction of painted red and green cardboard strips. By the early 1960s, Cruz-Diez’s Physichromies became increasingly advanced; instead of modulated cardboard he began incorporating transparent plastic blades to better capture the reflection of light. Gaining international acclaim, Cruz-Diez's work began to be exhibited at the Parisian gallery of Denise René, in the XXXI Venice Biennale (1962) and in August 1965 London’s SIGNALS Gallery.

The present work, Physichromie No 202 (1965), a rare vertical construction, is a mesmerizing example of Cruz-Diez’s intent to create a true visual and physical experience for the viewer. By using starkly opposing colors and hues painted on carefully placed and angled plastic strips, the colors bend and change as the viewer moves. An endless variety of greens, blues, purples and yellows radiate in a balanced serenity. 

[1] Mari-Carmen Ramírez, “The Issue at Stake is Color”,  Color in Space and Time: Cruz-Diez, (exhibition catalogue) New Haven, 2011, p. 26